What You Should Have Been Told

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In elementary school, we read a story called The BFG, or big friendly giant. It was a story about the only kind giant to exist. If you asked any of my old classmates about the story, most would probably not remember. It was a small and brief event in so many years of schooling. A decade or so later, I still recall it because of a twist on that title: The BFT. Big. Fat. Tiffany.
School was hell. From fat jokes to being targeted during gym class. Given nicknames that brought tears. Sticks and stones could never cause as much pain as what was said.

It took me a while to become like this:
Almost daily gym visits.
Counting calories.
Running to purge after eating.
Scars racing around my body.
Suicidal wishes.
From the pits of depression and the cages of eating disorders, I grew up. I would cover up the mirrors so I didn't have to see my reflection.
A fat girl. Round face. Convex. "Aren't your boobs supposed to be bigger than your stomach?" Took sharpies to my body. Circled the areas I wanted to disappear. Had more marks than clean skin. Skipped meals until I felt like a cloud in a tornado. When standing up became nauseating. The mantra on repeat over the stereo system in my mind: empty is strong. Empty is strong. Empty. Is. Strong. Seventh grade. Lost twenty pounds in less than a month. And I was finally called beautiful. Thirteen years into life and I first was called that precious word.

But this isn't about me. This is about the friends who came to me years down the road. Terrified of themselves. Panicking about their thoughts. Actions inducing anxiety.

You. Are. Beautiful. You are too beautiful.
You, who called me, tears in your voice.
Messaged me, telling me I was the first to know.
Weaved a story that strangled my heart.
Told me everything I would ever know with a moment of eye contact.

You, whose brain computes calorie counts faster than your brain telling your body to breathe.
Who avoids mirrors, anxious to see the dips and dives of your body.
Meets skin and razor on a good day and bad.
The one who feels guilt over eating bread. Or an apple. Or cake.
Spends time doubled over a toilet, tears coating your cheeks.
The one who wears long sleeves regardless of heat.
You, who does it without even thinking.
Takes extra care of hair and nails.
The one who wants to stop this.
Who wants to go until only bones shrink-wrapped in skin.

You are too beautiful not to hear the truth.

Poetry Slam: 

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